Born on March 19, 1813 in the suburb of Blantyre in Lanarkshire, David Livingstone was to live his life for others, his own ease and enjoyment was selflessly let go to uphold others less capable of overcoming hardship than himself. He was born to Neil Livingstone, an underprivileged tea merchant. He was coached to read and write by his dad. When David was 10 he went to earn a living in the Blantyre cotton mill, his activity was to watch a cotton spinning frame and tie up any threads that broke.

David needed to find out more and self educated whenever he could. He soon began to be trained at nights after work, provided by the mill. He taught himself Latin and accomplished a love of natural history. He was also athletic physically, he loved to tramp for miles and miles all over the terrain. He grew up strong and with great stamina. Little did he realise that he was unwittingly qualifying for his life’s work, and to be forever remembered in history as the man that identified the Victoria Falls.

At eighteen he was bolstered to the position of spinner at the mill, thus earning much better income. He saved his money for university. He was persevering to learn to develop into a doctor and a missionary. He had read about a doctor missionary in China and hoped that he too could go to China and be like that man. He was accepted at the university in Glascow, Scotland. He wrote a message to the London Missionary Society offering himself as a missionary to China whilst he was still studying at the University. He was welcomed on the condition that he went through a background course at a school in Chipping Ongar in Essex near London, England. He postponed his course and effected a year at the mission society. Whilst he was at the little school he met a man named Robert Moffat who was to present him his life’s vision. Robert Moffat had just returned from Africa with stories that fuelled the heart of David, of a curious continent with the “vast plain to the north” and the “smoke of a thousand villages” where no missionary had ever been before.
He moved to London in 1940 to finish his studies at the British and Foreign medical school, the Aldarsgate Street Dispensary, Charing Cross Hospital and Moorsfeild Hospital and at the result of the year he qualified as a licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glascow. That same year he was also ordained a missionary by the London Missionary Society.

For added info on Victoria Falls or David Livingstone, visit This is part 1 in a four part series of articles about David Livingstone to be found on this website.

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